FTSE 100-listed biopharmaceutical business AstraZeneca has signed an exclusive agreement with Moderna Therapeutics to discover, develop and commercialise messenger RNA therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases.
Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment of $240m and it will have exclusive access to select any target of its choice in cardiometabolic diseases, as well as selected targets in oncology, over a period of up to five years for subsequent development of messenger RNA. In addition, Moderna is entitled to an additional $180m for the achievement of three technical milestones.
Through the agreement, AstraZeneca has the option to select up to 40 drug products for clinical development and Moderna will be entitled to development and commercial milestone payments as well as royalties on drug sales ranging from high single digits to low double digits for each product.
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Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca, said: "Today's agreement signals an exciting move for AstraZeneca and our focus on innovation. Together with Moderna, we are pushing the boundaries of science in the pioneering field of messenger RNA therapeutics."
Stephane Bancel, President and founding Chief Executive Officer of Moderna Therapeutics, said: "This multi-year strategic agreement with AstraZeneca is a very exciting and special moment for the Moderna team. The company's strategy is to develop, manufacture, and commercialize innovative drugs initially in rare diseases and oncology as well as to partner other therapeutic areas with best-in-class companies."
Messenger RNA therapeutics are a new treatment approach that enables the body to produce therapeutic protein in vivo, opening up new treatment options for a range of diseases.
AstraZeneca's share price was up 2.02% to 3,101.50p at 11:37 on Thursday.
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